COACH BRIAN McDermott says Leeds Rhinos are in a “very good position” as they go through a transition from the golden generation to a new era.
Utility-player Liam Sutcliffe, 22, has signed a new contract which will keep him at Leeds until the end of 2021 and McDermott says that is the sort of commitment he is looking for from his team.
“We are currently in a transitional period and we are in a very good position within that process,” McDermott said. “We are coaching and mentoring our young people through so, by the time they need to take on the leadership of our club, they have been through a whole range of experiences with us, but that only comes if you commit for a long period with us.”
He added: “Kevin Sinfield always used to say the shirt at Leeds always weighs that bit heavier on this group of players than at other clubs because of the level of scrutiny and expectation that comes with being a Leeds player and I think that is still the case. The camaraderie they have with each other is unique and it takes a certain type of person to want to commit to us, knowing full well that you are more scrutinised here than at any other club.
“The rewards and the connection between the players behind the scenes is worth that extra pressure during the tough times and it is rewarding to see Liam is prepared to commit to that.”
Of Sutcliffe’s new contract, McDermott said: “The significance of Liam signing for us is big. We know all our young, quality players have a number of options to go elsewhere and the fact he has decided to stay with us is testimony to the environment that has been created at our club.
“We are excited to be working with Liam for the next four years at least and he is excited about being here. He has played a number of positions and offers quality at full-back, centre and stand-off and can also play in the back-row.
“While he wants to nail down a position for himself, the fact he can fulfil a number of roles for us makes him an invaluable member of the squad who will always be in the 17.”